An update on manadatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all NHS staff

mandatory vaccinations
The Royal College of Podiatry (RCPod) supports the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and it has used its voice to encourage its members to use it for their safety and that of their patients.

However, RCPod recognises that not all members - or all healthcare workers - are in a position to be vaccinated. RCPod does not discriminate as to the reasons why individuals decide not to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The College's long-held stance is that educating people about the health benefits of the vaccine is the correct thing to do. Therefore, the College does not support mandatory vaccination.

RCPod, along with other healthcare unions and professional bodies, has liaised with the government about this matter. The College contributed extensively to the government's consultation. RCPod advised that mandatory vaccination may cause significant problems within the healthcare workforce and warned that it could potentially displace an indicated 8% of staff who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccination; this would cause a substantial impact on services.

The government has now signalled its intention to introduce legislation. You can read the details here.

The main points for members to note from the government guidance are that:

  • It will apply to any healthcare worker entering CQC registerable buildings
  • There are limited exemptions which are:

    • Under 18s
    • Those who are clinically exempt – if you believe you may be clinically exempt, please speak to your GP/consultant
    • Those involved in a clinical COVID-19 trial
    • Those who do not have direct face-to-face contact with patients (ie, a receptionist who only speaks to patients on the phone or clinicians who are only carrying out remote consultations or a practice owner who only liaises with patients via remote means).
RCPod is working with the government and other stakeholders to discuss the impact of this requirement on service levels. The College is also pushing for more flexibility.

Once RCPod has seen the final legislation, it will issue further guidance for affected members.